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Mass shooting kills 26 churchgoers in Sutherland Springs, Texas

AP
Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, opened fire in a church in rural Texas on Sunday, killing at least 26 people.
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OKLAHOMA CITY- Just before noon on Sunday, a lone gunman opened fire in a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

Sutherland Springs is 30 miles east of San Antonio and has a population of a little over 320 people. The shooting in the small Texas town left 26 people dead and over 20 injured.

The attack is the United States’ 377th mass shooting this year.

Reports from CNN and NBC show the ages of the dead range from 5 to 72 years old.

According to Texas law officials, the gunman has been identified as 26-year-old David Patrick Kelley. Although no motive has been declared by the police, Kelley was pronounced dead just minutes after the shooting.

Reports from Texas law enforcement said Kelley died by a gunshot wound. It has not been confirmed if the wound was self-inflicted, by the police or by the pursuing citizen that chased the shooter for roughly 11 miles.

Witness accounts say Kelley arrived at the First Baptist Church before noon. Dressed in black tactical gear, Kelley approached the church as the doors began to open.

The rifle used in the shooting was a Ruger AR-556 that was purchased in April 2016.

Law enforcement confirmed the background check required for all firearm purchases showed no disqualifying information.

Shots rang out across the small town causing a mass panic. While many flung to the ground, many were struck by the flying bullets and killed instantly, according to Texas medical examiners.

Shortly after the shooting, Kelley got back into his vehicle and drove down the road at a high speed. A truck carrying an armed citizen chased after Kelley.

After 11 miles, Kelley’s truck lost control and drove into a ditch, reported an unnamed witness.

President Trump, who is on a two-week trip to Japan, spoke at a news conference during the Monday morning news. Trump expressed his condolences and said the shooting was the cause of, “a mental health problem.”

According to reports from the BBC, Kelley was a member of the United States Air Force from 2010 until his discharge. He served at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. In 2012, Kelley was court-martialed for the assault of his spouse and his child. After serving a year in confinement and a losing of his rank, Kelley was discharged from military service.

Hours after the chaos simmered down, the citizens of Sutherland Springs gathered in the streets to mourn the loss of loved ones. Candles were lit and passed among the crowd.

Wilson County Commissioner Albert Gamez Jr told media sources, “My heart is broken.”

“We never think where it can happen, and it does happen. It doesn't matter where you're at,” he said. “In a small community, real quiet and everything, and look at this.”

Those wounded in the shooting are being treated in hospitals while funeral services are being planned for those who died. 

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Brandon King

Brandon King is a journalism student at OCCC, working towards becoming a professional writer....

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